The four composers of West Fourth New Music collective and Contemporaneous, a chamber orchestra, combine their talents to present the world premiere of Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities. Collaboratively written by composers and W4 co-founders Matt Frey, Tim Hansen, Molly Herron, and Ruben Naeff, this evening-length piece composes non-linearly through Melville’s novel, focusing on themes and events related to mortality, identity, and the hunt. The music will be accompanied by abstract projections inspired by Rockwell Kent’s illustrations to the 1930 Modern Library edition of Moby Dick, created by visual artist Andy Cahill. Singers will include Lucy Dhegrae, Ariadne Greif, Charlotte Mundy and Sean Christensen
Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities
I. Hymn (Hansen)
II. At the Mast-head (Herron)
III. The Graceful Repose of the Line (Naeff)
IV. Some Ships (Frey)
V. The Sea (Herron)
VI. The Non-Valvular Structure of the Whale’s Blood-Vessels (Naeff)
VII. A Song of Wind, Sea and Stars (Hansen)
VIII. A White and Turbid Wake (Frey)
IX. There She Blows (Hansen)
X. All Men are Enveloped in Whale-Lines (Naeff)
XI. Lower Away (Frey)
XII. Call Me (Herron)
About the creation of Moby Dick: Extracts on Death and Other Curiosities
Echoing the multiplicity of Melville’s novel, W4 composers created a collection of responses to themes and events from the book. From a narrative episode depicting the final chase of Moby Dick to abstract meditations incorporating spoken text as a textural element embedded in the music, the evening ranges widely through styles and impressions vividly evoking scenes and emotions from Melville’s world. Balancing collaboration and individual expression, each composer engaged with personal areas of interest while together conceiving the flow and experience of the work as a whole. The libretto was crafted by the composers, in some cases using extended excerpts, and other times stitching together lines from across the whole novel. This oratorio was written specifically for Contemporaneous who work-shopped early sketches.
Why we need your help:
This production is generously supported by MATA, an organization devoted to supporting exceptional emerging artists in the classical music world, and Contemporaneous has been the recipient of an Aaron Copland grant, but we still have a sizable budget gap to fill because of the size and scope of this production. Thirty-five musicians and artists are working together on this project. The costs for the production include artist fees; rental for rehearsal space, percussion instruments and technical equipment; and transportation.
Join us for the premiere!
This concert will take place on Friday February 21st in Brooklyn, New York, as part of a series produced by MATA called Interval 7.2. If you are interested in purchasing tickets to the production in addition to your donation, please click on this link: http://issueprojectroom.org/drupal/event/moby-dick-extracts-death-and-other-curiosities
Does this project catch your fancy? Would you be interested in discussing a further performance of it and maybe have an idea for a great location? We are all ears if you have ideas for a venue that you could arrange for us or a supportive community you know of that might fully or partially fund a further performance of this oratorio. We will send you an audio recording when it’s ready and set up a meeting to discuss your thoughts.
More about the artists:
West Fourth New Music is a collective of composers and performers dedicated to presenting new live concert music in and around New York City. W4 makes a priority of programming and producing new music events with an eye toward bringing diverse audiences together through innovative concert experiences. Co-directors Matt Frey, Tim Hansen, Molly Herron, and Ruben Naeff met while studying in the graduate program of NYU's Steinhardt School on West 4th Street in Manhattan in 2010. A mutual desire to produce their own work outside of the academic environment and to cultivate a broader audience for new music spurred the formation of W4.
Contemporaneous is a New York-based ensemble of nineteen musicians dedicated to performing and promoting the most exciting music of now. Founded in 2010 at Bard College, Contemporaneous has played over sixty shows at venues including (le) poisson rouge, Merkin Concert Hall, Roulette, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Galapagos Art Space, Baryshnikov Arts Center and The Stone and has been featured as guest artist at the MATA Interval Series, Tribeca New Music Festival, Neighborhood Classics, and in California at the Berkeley Arts Festival. The ensemble has been featured on WNYC’s “SoundCheck” and “New Sounds” programs. Contemporaneous supports the work of new and established composers, encouraging artists to take risks, challenge expectations and defy constraints. To date, Contemporaneous has performed more than thirty world premieres by such composers as Albert Behar, Conor Brown, Ryan Chase, Kyle Gann, Yotam Haber, Molly Joyce and Dylan Mattingly. In 2012, Innova Recordings released the ensemble’s debut album, Stream of Stars — Music of Dylan Mattingly, comprising music written specifically for Contemporaneous by its founding co-artistic director. Contemporaneous often collaborates with musicians and artists from other fields, among them pop and rock artists Jherek Bischoff, David Byrne, Sondre Lerche, Amanda Palmer, Zac Pennington, Greg Saunier, Mirah Zeitlyn, Zola Jesus, Fifth Veil and Yassou Benedict. The ensemble regularly presents educational programs for New York public elementary school P.S. 142 and the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra. For more information, visit www.contemporaneous.org.
Matt Frey (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based composer of contemporary concert music. In 2013, selections from his opera-in-progress The Fox and the Pomegranate were selected for performance at Ft. Worth Opera's inaugural Frontiers showcase. Frey’s concert music has been heard in performances by the JACK String Quartet, West Point Woodwind Quintet, NYU Symphony Orchestra, Manhattan Wind Ensemble, Washington Square Winds, and at the 2012 Etchings Festival in France and 2012 Duffy Festival in Norfolk, VA. An alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop and a recent graduate of the Masters program in Music Composition at New York University, where he studied with Joan La Barbara and Julia Wolfe, Frey is also known as a new music producer, performer, conductor, and advocate through his activities as co-founder of the West 4th New Music Collective.
Tim Hansen (b. 1978) is a composer whose work fuses cabaret and music theatre, with more traditional concert music idioms. His music has been performed in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Mexico, and the United States, as well as in his native Australia. He has composed music for Austrailia’s Song Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Saffire Guitar Quartet, Guitarstrophe and the Griffyn Ensemble, and has collaborated closely with artists such as guitarist Tim Kain and clarinetist Nicole Canham. In America, Hansen has worked with Transit, the JACK Quartet, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble, and has been a composition fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and the Norfolk Contemporary Music Festival. He has been awarded the Frank Ponton Memorial Prize, the Darwin International Guitar Festival Composition Prize, and an ArtStart Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. He is a founding director of both ExhAust New Music and the W4 New Music collective in New York.
Molly Herron (b. 1982) is a Brooklyn based composer, performer, and educator. She is a recipient of the Exploring the Metropolis 2012/13 Con Edison Composer's Residency at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy and a fellow at La Pietra Forum in Florence. Recent commissions includes pieces for the JACK Quartet, ECCE, The Cygnus Ensemble, The NYU Contemporary Ensemble and arrangements for the folk group The Great Republic of Rough and Ready, among others. Herron has collaborated with a variety of artists in theater, dance, and film. Her work with the filmmaker Josephine Decker will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February. She is a co-founding director of the W4 New Music, a composer’s collective dedicated to enriching the possibilities for new music and its makers since 2010. Herron received her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied composition with Chester Biscardi and Steven Burke. She received a Master of Music degree from the Steinhardt School at NYU having studied with Joan La Barbara and Michael Gordon.
Ruben Naeff (b. 1981) writes music that speaks to broad audiences as well as to new music lovers. A native of Amsterdam, currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, he is a co-founder of West 4th New Music and has collaborated with such groups as Signal, JACK Quartet, Deviant Septet, Wild Rumpus, Berkeley Symphony, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. His music has been performed in seven European countries and across America and was presented by as a part of the Bang on a Can Marathon. In 2008, he released his CD De Bètacanon. Naeff was awarded the prestigious HSP Huygens Talent Scholarship to study with Michael Gordon at NYU; previously he attended the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague and also holds a master’s degree in mathematics. He has attended master classes by Louis Andriessen, David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas and Christopher Rouse and the summer programs of Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo, Bang on a Can and Music11.
Risks and challenges
A project of this size and scope comes along with a whole heap of risks, challenges, and surprise set-backs. Fortunately many of those are in our past. At this point, the concert is scheduled, the venue is booked, the musicians are contracted, the music is written, and by the time this kickstarter ends, rehearsals will be underway! There are certainly challenges to come, but we can say with all confidence that this project is moving forward as planned and will premiere on February 21st with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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